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When Everything Feels Like the Movies

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  2,652 ratings  ·  502 reviews
School is just like a film set: there's The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn't fit in. He's not part of The Crew because he isn't about to do anything unless it's court-appointed; he's not an Extra because nothing about him is anonymous; and he's not a ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 21st 2014 by Arsenal Pulp Press
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Average rating 3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,652 ratings  ·  502 reviews

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Emily May
Dec 14, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried so hard to like this book. A Canadian LGBT novel - taking a frank and open look at gender identity - sounds like perfection. Unfortunately, though, I found it unrealistic and overly vulgar.

Don't get me wrong, I am the kind of reader that likes gritty realism. Don't sugarcoat the world, because the reality is that teens swear and drink and have sex - pretending it doesn't happen changes nothing. But this book's constant vulgarity felt not only gratuitous, but completely fake. I have rar
Rebecca McNutt
This book is very important for two reasons, the first being that it was based upon the murder of Lawrence "Larry" Fobes King, a student shot to death by another teen, and the second reason being that it's one of the most timely fiction novels for teenagers I've read in a long time. It features a lot of explicit language, which can be difficult to read through if you don't like vulgarity, but it serves a purpose, setting the scene of a typical school and the things said when the adults are out o ...more
May 2017 Update: I still stand by this review (under the spoiler below) because it's an honest depiction of how I felt when I finished reading When Everything Feels Like the Movies back in 2015.

But I just reread the book and... I feel a little differently now. Not a lot differently, but my perspective has shifted enough that I think I need to update this review for the sake of honesty.

I'm still biased. Let's start with that. I still pick up this book determined to love it, because I'm stil
Karyn Huenemann
Nov 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
One star, as it is impossible to present a negative number.

Sometimes the end justifies the means, but in this case nothing would. While I find the veiled stories of the characters Angela and Luke intriguing, the persona of the protagonist, Jude, is not just disturbed (understandably) but highly disturbing. The uncanniness of the text is largely derived from the author's inability with characterization: namely, inability at depicting characters of a consistent age. At rare times, Jude and his fe
Rachel Hartman
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is not going to be to everyone's taste, I'd better say that off the bat. In large part, it wasn't to my taste, and YET. It was just so heartbreaking and true, and I have to tip my hat to that in a big way even if it made me squirm kind of a lot.

By weird chance, I read The Fault in Our Stars at the same time as this book, and I think TFIOS suffered by the comparison. Both are tragic (well, kinda -- TFIOS veers more toward the bittersweet) but TFIOS came across as so sterile
It might be hard to believe that a queer young adult novel written by a debut author, only twenty-four, won a Governor General’s award for children’s literature, especially when the said novel is about a flamboyant, gender non-conformist, foul-mouthed kid with a stripper mom and a self-described slut for a best friend. Especially when this is a novel about a hate crime that refuses the paint the queer teenager as a victim. But that’s exactly what’s happened to When Everything Feels Like the Movi ...more
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-books
I don't often give 5 star ratings, but this is, without a doubt, one of the best YA novels I have ever read. This book is essential reading for anyone that is part of or considers themselves allied with any LGBTQ community.

First, let's address the controversy surrounding this book. Winner of the 2014 Governor General's Award for Children's Fiction, this book has met constant challenges because of its head-on discussion of teenagers, sexuality, and drug and alcohol use. Before I read the novel,
Maria (Big City Bookworm)
“I didn’t know that having it all is boring. When you have nothing, you have dreams.”

When Everything Feels Like The Movies is one of those novels that is surrounded by controversy. Many thought that the themes within the story were way too intense and mature for a young adult audience in which this book is marketed towards. Although I agree that the themes were shocking and graphic at times I found myself thinking back to when I was a teenager and I really do believe that I would not have found
Feb 06, 2015 rated it did not like it
I was really looking forward to reading this book based on the theme alone and I really, really wanted to like it but I just found it overly-provocative and disturbing. (A new trend it would seem in books and on screen.) And, call me naive, but there's no way that I could believe that the characters were from middle school. They definitely read like they were seniors in high school, not kids in grade 8. It was disappointing because I believe it could have been an important book for this day and ...more
Nina Rossing
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, lgbt, 2015
The strangest, weirdest, most shocking and disturbing, yet beautiful, funny, honest, surprising and heartbreaking novel I've read in a long time.
Jan 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
It's so difficult to rate a book when you may not "enjoy" it, but you understand the powerful message behind it. This book had a plethora of horrible characters, who do horrible things; some because they are cruel, others because they just want to be loved.
Jude, our narrator, disguises his difficult life by pretending he is the star in a film. The bullies are jealous tabloids, those who sympathize with him are his adoring fans, his small town is a Beverly Hills Boulevard. All he dreams of is ge
Jan 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
Two pages into this book, I thought I'd have to put it down and not finish it. But because I'll be in the audience for the first day of Canada Reads in March (this book is one of the competing titles), I really wanted to read it beforehand.

I finished it, but every page was honestly a struggle for me. I'm no literary prude, by any means, but this book was so, so explicit, crude and vulgar. I'm really surprised this is marketed as YA fiction, because it seems intended for a much older, mature aud
Cora Tea Party Princess
Aug 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
5 Words: Not my cup of tea.

DNF at 6% (I tried, really)

I think this is a love it or hate it book. Unfortunately, I hated it.

I just couldn't get with the style of the narrative. It was overly crass and vulgar and graphic and absolutely not my cup of tea. I was a little let down by my own expectations too, I was expecting something so much more.

I can see why some other people will like it, but those things ain't my thang at all.

I received a copy of this fo/>I/>DNF
Jan 13, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
This book was definitely not my taste. So much violence and explicitness. I really felt for the main character, for having to deal with such a horrible life, but I squirm away from books with this many drug references, abusive relationship and general discomfort.
This did win an award for children's literature, but I thought it was entirely inappropriate for that age group.
Max Baker
A special thanks to Edelweiss for providing me a free DRC in exchange for an honest review

If this book is anything, it's a testament of how fucked up Generation Y is. Like, no shit. We're a bunch of self-entitled, egotistical, assholes who hate everything for not being exactly the way we want them.

I've come to learn that reviewing LGBT books is kind of hard. The main character in this book is a stereotype through-and-through. He's vain, horny, and wears makeup and heels, but the difference b
Scott Robins
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, lgbtq
A difficult book to read and an even more difficult book to review. I came to When Everything Feels Like The Movies after hearing about both its award accolades and its detractors for the unflinchingly brutal content. This was a bleak read and for the first 2/3rds of the book I was ready to give this book a bad review - the writing felt shallow, far too immersed in extremes and shocking for shocking's sake. The characters felt utterly unlikable. But then something shifted for me the last 3rd of ...more
Hilary Friesen
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
This is a beautiful novel, and all the more stunning for being the writer’s first. The voice of his main character, Jude, is crystal clear - it grabs your attention from the first page and doesn’t let go. Jude imagines his life as a tabloid celebrity, and I wanted to believe in his glossy re-imagining even as the heartbreaking reality showed through the cracks in his facade. Jude is a character I rooted for even when I knew he was pushing boundaries and making questionable choices. He is larger ...more
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Everyone fell into one of three categories:

1. The Crew: They made things happen. They took over the honour roll, sports teams, extracurricular activities, and clubs. They had the most volunteer credits and were first to raise their hands whenever the teacher asked a question. They weren’t necessarily the smartest, most talented, or prettiest, but they were involved. Without the crew, nothing would ever get done, and we’d all be wandering down the hallways in search of our marks.
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
I knew literally nothing about this book going in. I had no idea about the controversy that surrounded it, that it was awarded the Governor General’s award in Canada or that there were calls for the award to be revoked and I knew nothing about the author. All I knew about it was the blurb (which sounded interesting) the cover (which looked gorgeous) and that it was being published in the UK by Little, Brown (whose books I have a track record of really enjoying).

From the blurb, I unde
Jay DeMoir
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A heartbreaking read but I thoroughly enjoyed it! It's been on my shelf for awhile and I finally got around to it and I'm glad I did.

I truly believe Jude acted the way he did as a way to cope. It's difficult being a member of the LGBT community during those school years. A lot of LGBT members experience bullying and it takes a toll. Being extremely extra seemed to be Jude's coping mechanism and also seemed to keep him from truly being a victim of his circumstances...for a time, Howev
Mar 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, canlit
I read this book to celebrate Freedome to Read Week. Protective parents and children's authors claim loudly that this book is not meant for their innocent children's malleable minds, and should not be promoted or endorsed by the coveted literary award it has already received. I don't claim to read a wide range of YA fiction, but this book encapsulates the perfect mix of dark reality and fanciful imagination that teens go through. To exclaim that this book has a negative impact on today's youth i ...more
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Painfully, beautifully written. Definitely a book to help change the world. I hope for a future where my daughter doesn't have to deal with such awful humans. I hope I'm teaching her not to be an awful person. I hope a lot of people read this story and are as moved by it as I am.
Rhiannon Duval
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social
"Remember, Jude," he said, "don't dream it, be it"

It should be mandatory for all teachers of any kind to read this book. Celebrate GSA's and QSA's!
Originally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.

Reading the description above, When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid sounded like a fun, glitzy read with a gay protagonist, and I was so excited to read it! But now I have, and I have absolutely no idea whether this book is good or not.

Normally,  include a summary of the book in my reviews, but I have no idea how to summarise this novel. I just don't know what to say. So I'll just get straight in to what I thought: I didn't li
Mar 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
Edit: It is not stated directly that Jude would prefer she/her pronouns, but as far as I could tell it is what she would have preferred
I think this book might be offensive, but it is such trash that you kind of just have to sit back and laugh.

Rant below
(view spoiler) ...more
3.5 stars

Jude is gay, wears makeup, and likes to dress in his mother’s clothes. He isn’t shy about this, even at school. But, of course, he is bullied because of it. He thinks of himself, though, as a movie star, and his life is like a movie; this allows him to deal with the other kids and the bullying. He does have a best friend, Angela, who sleeps around with many of the boys at school.

It was a bit hard to get into at first, a bit hard to follow. Have to admit, I didn’t like eithe
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Opponents of LGBTQAI issues - If this can't change them....

When Everything Feels Like the Movies is the arresting début novel from twenty-five year old Canadian author, Raziel Reid. This is not a romance. There is the dream of love, but this is a ‘punch in the gut’ – a ‘wake-up call’, for our society.

Already the winner,of the Governor General's Literary Award in Canada, finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, and Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction, this is an important, but difficult book.

Jude is a fifteen-year
Katherine Dell
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading When Everything Feels Like The Movies, By Raziel Reid… And my heart is still raw.

This book won the 2015 Canadian Governor Generals Award in young adult fiction and attracted much attention in doing so. (I can’t help but laugh a little… The main character Jude would have LOVED this!) I read a few heated articles about this book and its award. Some said, that the use of language, discussion of drugs, and graphic sex and violence in this book were too much of an
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to think of this as a YA book. It's really well written and it's unlike anything I've ever read before. I thought it was amazing; it's the type of book that leaves a really strong imprint on you.
Reminded me of both SE Hinton and the way she wrote teenagers (with respect, nonjudgement and warmth; and the way she could write the impatient boredom and imagination of adolescence) and also of JT Leroy with a sort of world weary flippant quality that shocks you with casual violence/cruelty
Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Basically this book is Natural Born Killers + Catcher in the Rye and I love it.

People may age say "oh I'm so glad I wasn't a teen when social media was around." This books shows me that it isn't that different.

This book also made me realize that all teen books and dramas exaggerate the clarity and wit of how teens talk, even ones like this that aren't showing up an idealized Dawson's Creek/The Fault in Our Stars world. In real life, Angela and Jude would have had a million inside jo
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RAZIEL REID’s debut young adult novel, When Everything Feels Like the Movies, won the 2014 Governor General’s Award for English-language children’s literature, making him, at 24 years old, the youngest ever person to win the prestigious award. When Everything Feels Like the Movies, optioned for film by Random Bench Productions, is inspired in part by the 2008 murder of gay teenager Lawrence Fobes ...more
“Darling,” she said, “we’re a train wreck.”
“Sweetheart,” I said, “train wrecks always make the front page.”
“Go ahead, blame the victim! The villain is my favourite role to play.” 2 likes
More quotes…